Yes. Pumpkins CAN Climb Trees


I am a very relaxed gardener. I am very trusting. I believe that nature is uniquely designed to take care of the seeds that we put into the ground.

I mean, seriously. Who am I to challenge the superior wisdom of Mother Nature when it comes to planting a garden?

The result of my calm and serene approach to gardening is the appearance of a very free spirited yard.

For example, my daylilies are mixed up nicely with my goose necked loosestrife, and both of them share space with the tall phlox that I never even dreamed of planting but which arrived via bird poop. There are the mallow plants that came on their own and the coneflowers that I actually placed in the flowerbed.

See?

Loosestrife. Nice.
Phlox (volunteers) and Sundrops (planted, but only two of them!)

It’s all pretty and it smells great and it comes back every year! And…..Mother Nature is pretty much responsible for all of it.

See how relaxed and trusting I am? “Go, Mother Nature! You rock!” I quietly chant under my breath as I sit on the deck with a nice ginger libation.

I trust her.

I sometimes drop a seed or two, or pull out a few weeds. But mostly my yard is in her capable hands.

My pumpkin garden is the most perfect example of what a nice laid back gardener I am.

We have a small fenced off garden area that has gradually become too shady to grow most summer veggies. It’s OK for peas and garlic and a few onions, but not much else. This year, because my grandkids really love pumpkins, I put in a few hills of pumpkin plants.

And now, 8 weeks later, I have a few hills of wimpy, droopy pumpkin plants.

But.

After I planted my few hills, I decided to toss the rest of the seeds out into the woods that encircle my yard. There is one small spot, about 3 ft by 3 ft, where I composted for 25 years. I tossed a few of the seeds out there, too.

The days went by. I forgot about the back woods pumpkins, but was careful to weed and water my “garden” pumpkins.

You can guess what’s coming next, can’t you?

Yep, you got it.

My planted, fenced garden is doing…..ok….ish. There are a few slender vines and some of them hold a couple of limp blossoms. I haven’t seen a future pumpkin yet.

BUT: my compost pumpkins are OUT OF CONTROL! There are huge vines taking over the entire area. There are dozens of blossoms on every vine. There are little newborn pumpkins forming on at least half of those vines.

All without one single bit of effort or attention from this mere human gardener.

Yes. This giant pumpkin vine IS climbing a cherry tree.

So. I am now the proud farming Momma of three giant, tree climbing pumpkin plants.

Whoo hoo!

Whoo hoo???

I’m not convinced that my laissez faire 8 feet in the air pumpkins will live long enough to ripen.

But I don’t want to waste all of this fecundity, do I?

Of course not.

Luckily, I grew up in an Italian family. I know how delicious zucchini blossoms can be. I figured that pumpkin blossoms couldn’t be too far off.

So here I am. Making giant-free-natural-tree-climbing-pumpkin flower fritters.

Looking healthy and fresh, right?

I went out there this morning, into the wilderness of my backyard, and made my way to the compost garden. After pulling aside the humongous crab grass, the maple saplings, the Joe-Pye weed, the Queen Ann’s Lace and the nettles, I grabbed about half of the open blossoms that were spreading across the area.

I brought them inside and cleaned them out a bit. Pulled out the flies, and the stamens. Opened each one into a flat plane. Then I dipped each piece into egg and milk, and tossed them into salted flour. I browned them in olive oil, and added a little more salt.

Holy Yummo.

I ate them all, one by crispy one, with an ice cold glass of white wine.

We might not get any jack-o-lanterns out of this particular airborne patch of pumpkins, but that’s OK.

I had a plate of crisp, salty pumpkin flower fritters.

I trusted Mother Nature and she came through.

And who knows?

Elle and Johnny might just find themselves the very first owners of the original air pumpkin.

Take That, Bitch!!!!


Oh, dear. Oh, dear dear me.

Nonni is taking her prednisone.

This means that Nonni has lots and LOTS of energy. It means that Nonni has so many fun and amusing plans! Plans for how to repaint the house, inside and out, while writing a novel and baking organic cookies!!!! Yay, Nonni! Yay, Prednisone!

It also mean, alas, that Nonni is just a teensy weensy bit cranky. And that Nonni is ready to use that all that energy to utterly destroy anyone who gets in her way.

ANYONE.

Yesterday is a good example of poor Nonni’s conflicted relationship with Prednisone.

You see, Nonni and Papa went out to hear some great music from one of our favorite bands on Friday night. As always, Upstate was amazing and exciting and fun and uplifting. We had a fabulous time.

But we got home late. And Nonni was feeling those fun Prednisone energy jolts. Until about 4 AM. At that point, she fell asleep.

So. Saturday morning found this old woman on three hours of sleep, with way too much energy but no strength. I was crabby (if “murderous” and “crabby” are synonyms.) I paced around for a bit. I did dishes. Cleaned the fridge. Paid the bills. Organized my pots and pans. Used a tiny bottle brush to scrub out the silicone straws that the kids use.

By noon I was climbing out of my skin.

So I headed into the yard.

And that is where Nonni discovered that she is not the only crabby old bitch to be on the loose.

We’ve lived in this house for close to thirty years. In that time, we have created a lovely garden area filled with flowers and bushes and blooming shrubs.

And when I say “we”, I mean ME. I mean this woman. All by myself. I ripped out grass and put in perennials and ripped out weeds and put in bushes. I have trimmed and pruned and raked and fertilized and transplanted. And it is gorgeous out there.

Yep. I planted this beauty 25 years ago. Yep, I prune her!

So when I headed outside yesterday, I noticed that the yard had begun to close in on us. Every year, it seems, the trees sneak a bit closer. The woods encroach. The wild comes just a bit closer.

And yesterday, for the first time in a decade at least, Nonni had Freakin’ HAD IT.

I took up my brand new rechargeable, super efficient trimmer. And I went to town.

Thirty minutes into my “pruning” efforts, the driveway was littered with the chopped off limbs of maples, oaks, hemlock, ash, beech and birch. There was suddenly sunlight again on parts of the yard that had become moss covered and shaded.

I looked up.

I LIKED this!

Nonni, in all of her angry, teeth gritting, pissed off over-energized-jittery glory had found a way to burn off some steam.

I made my way up and down my driveway, swinging my tool of revenge in front of me like a demon. “Take that!” I crowed, as I buzzed five oaks and three maple saplings from the edge of the drive. “You won’t take over my one means of escape, you foul beasts!!!!” I lopped them off at ground level.

I believe I chortled.

I kept the driveway space clear for my car.

I kept going. My heart was racing. Mosquitoes were lodging in my ears, nose and on the edges of my sweaty gray hair. Still, I could not be stopped. This was FUN.

And so empowering.

Mother Nature wants to put out ten knew pine trees in my GRASS? I don’t THINK SO!!!

Buzzz, Bzzzzz, bzzzzeeepeezeeep! Down, down! I vanquish thee!!

Fourteen baby oaks popping up off of one downed pine tree? Not on my watch, kids!!!!

Vrooom, vrooomy, vrooomotchka!!! Out you goes!!!

After three hours, my arms were shaking. I couldn’t see because of all the sweat, dirt, dead bugs and pine needles plastered to my face.

But I felt GREAT.

I knew it was time to head inside for a shower, a triple tick check and a martini. But I needed one more quiet moment of reflection.

Take that, Mother Nature!

Mother Nature, you’re not the only cranky old pissed off lady out here today. So you just back off, bitch. Nonni is here to save the yard.

The Nature of Aging


I am now in my 6th decade of life. My hair is almost entirely silver. My jowls have arrived, and the wrinkles around my eyes will show you my general mood.

I’m a happy old wrinkly grandmother.

I know that I’m chubby, I know that I’m gray. I get it. I’ve earned these marks. They show that I have lived.

For the most part, I am happy to observe time moving along merrily. I know that nothing is permanent, and that time can’t be slowed, or stopped, or forced to run backwards.

My life is in its early Fall season, I’d guess. The beautiful pressures of summer are over. Now it’s time to settle in a bit, make some stock to hold us through the long winter, to think about which good books we’d like to keep us company as it snows.

I don’t think about time passing as much as you might think. I try, really, really hard to keep my focus on the moment in front of me.

But sometimes old Mother Nature reaches in to give me a poke.

This evening she did exactly that.

I was standing on my deck, in the back of the house where Paul and I have lived for 29 years. I was resting my chin on my hand, and gazing out into our woods. My eyes weren’t really focused. I was just sort of looking into the distance.

But then I saw the little golden leaves in front of me. Slowly unfurling into the warm sun. Little oak leaves.

I pulled my focus back and looked at the tree that was reaching out, offering me those tender leaves.

And there stood a strong, young, vibrant oak, bursting into life on the edge of our woods. It’s branches were leaning toward the deck. Toward me.

My head swam. Time went whooooshing past me, leaving me reeling with vertigo.

When we moved into this house (last year? last month? three decades ago?) there was a tall, strong white pine standing behind our deck, just on the edge of the woods. It had thick, lustrous branches and a tall, straight trunk. One branch leaned in so close to our deck that I was once able to coax a chickadee from it’s tip to my palm.

I loved that tree.

For years, I watched it age and wither and become brittle. A few years ago we knew that it was finished, and we had the guardian pine taken down.

The sun came shining down. Little saplings sprang up in the place where the old tree once stood.

And while I wasn’t looking, an oak sapling raced toward the skies. It opened it’s arms, reached for the sun, and grew.

Today I stood looking at the woods. One confident, cocky oak tree seemed to have taken center stage. I had a sense of it grinning at me as it passed me by.

I closed my eyes and saw the old white pine that used to be the star of our particular stage. I could imagine her spirit smiling at the exuberance of the teen aged oak.

I felt time racing by.

I am surely getting older. If I somehow forget that fact, I have no doubt that Mother Nature will remind me.

Grounded


Sometimes the world is just a big pile of quicksand. You think you are on solid ground, and suddenly everything liquifies. Your footing shifts, your balance overturns, you find yourself sinking into that pit of quicksand.

I saw a movie once, when I was about ten. A man was chasing someone, and he stepped into quicksand. I can still picture it; the black and white image of the hero, slowly sinking into the sand that silently came up to claim him.

I don’t remember if the hero ever escaped. I only remember how horrified I was at the idea of sinking, sinking, sinking into death.

Now that I’m a grown assed adult, I feel like I have more secure footing. I don’t often fear the quicksand.

Why?

Because now I know what it is to be “grounded”. I know that I have roots that go deep deep deep into those parts of life that give us a sense of being anchored.

I have three adult children who love me, love my husband and truly love each other. What a secure anchor.

I have two beautiful grandchildren who love and depend on their parents. Who trust the love and support of those parents.

And who love and trust me almost as much.

What a truly deep and secure anchor.

I have siblings who love me and support me, even when we get on each others’ last nerve. And I have a Mom who tells me she loves me every time we see each other. And who shares stories of things I’ve done that have made her proud.

I am anchored.

I am secure.

I am married to my first true love. We met in (ahem) seventh grade, and fell in love by listening to each other’s stories and struggles. He’s been by my side every step of the way, through college, and grad school and infertility and babies and kids and teens and the empty nest.

He is “Papa!” to our best beloved grand kids.

I am grounded.

I am grounded because now, at last, after all this time….now I trust myself. I must be doing a pretty good job, because so many people I admire and love have told me so.

I am grounded.

In my garden, where I look at trees I planted two decades ago. When I look at the daffodils still blooming after all these many years.When I look at the new little walk that I crafted two years ago, and at the baby lilacs that line it’s way.

I am grounded.

My feet are firmly on this earth. My heart is firmly held by my love for those who still walk here. My soul feels the roots of the plants I’ve put in, reaching into the very heart of my soil to find life.

I feel so grounded now.

Nothing can knock me off my secure footing now.

New Friends


So you probably know that I’ve been on vacation with my younger sister. We just spent a week in St. Pete Beach, Florida.

It was perfect.

I know, I know. Gag me and all that.

But seriously. It was about 80 degrees and perfectly sunny EVERY DAY. We ate fresh seafood. We walked on the beach every morning. We collected (I am not kidding) about 600 perfect seashells. We swam and floated and splashed in the Gulf of Mexico for hours.

And one of the best parts for me was meeting so many friendly and welcoming people. I met some new people, unknown to either my sister or myself. They were interesting, funny, and fun to talk with.

I also had the pleasure of meeting some people that my sister has known for decades. That was very cool, because at long last I had faces to match to so many of her stories. And I was instantly welcomed into the “family” of her long time buddies.

So special. Such a blessing.

And I mean that. Really and truly! My circle has grown this week, and that is always a wonderful development.

But you know what?

The best interaction that I had all week was with a bird.

We were walking along the shore one evening, gathering shells and watching the sun set. We came to a wooden pier, stretching into the gulf.

As we looked out toward the setting sun, I noticed a beautiful egret fishing on the rocks.

Perfection. Fishing on the rocks along the Gulf of Mexico.

I walked toward her, snapping picture after picture to capture her perfect white feathers in the light of the setting sun.

And then I noticed, further along, a beautiful heron. A great blue heron, standing on the railing of the pier. He was scanning the water below him, just as intent on catching his dinner as the egret was.

I slowly walked toward him, fully expecting him to take flight when I got too close.

But to my amazement, instead of flying off, he turned his head to watch my approach.

“Approach. But do it carefully.”

He was absolutely calm, watching me with his bright yellow eyes. As I held up my phone and started to take pictures, I swear that he lifted his head and posed.

He was regal. He was the one in charge.

He seemed, in a strange way, to be watching me as closely as I was watching him.

I could hardly breathe. I have never been so close to a heron! I have never been so close to a large bird.

He was gorgeous.

I kept moving forward, my phone help up in front of my eye.

The heron watched, but never gave the slightest sign of unease. His feet stayed steady on the post beneath him. His feathers were smooth, gray, supremely unruffled.

I took one picture after another.

Slowly, I moved past my royal subject. Now the sun’s setting light held him in perfect glowing relief. I took several more shots, unable to believe my luck.

And I’m not kidding. He turned his head, showing himself in perfect profile.

“Be sure to capture my best side.”

It was starting to feel a little bit surreal, standing so close to such an amazing bird, watching him in all of his elegant glory. Watching him as he watched me.

Finally I had taken as many photos as I thought I might need. I put my phone in my pocket.

For some reason that I don’t fully understand, I placed my right hand on my chest, and gave a tiny bow.

‘Thank you, sir,” I said.

And you know what he did?

I’m not kidding.

He dipped that magnificent head toward me, acknowledging my thanks and recognizing his own superiority.

I will forever be in awe of that moment.

Throwing Up My Hands


There are times in life when we have to be honest with ourselves. We have to step back, try to let go of our anger and take a deep breath.

Sometimes we have to admit that our continued struggle against a particular foe is pointless. We have to release our determination to “win.” We must, at those times, admit that the war is over. We must learn to embrace our enemy.

For example, let me tell about me and Rusty. We have been at odds for months.

It all started when a bought myself a clear acrylic bird feeder that sticks on my picture window. I loved watching the birds! I used to have a long feeder that hung out on a pole in front of the house. It was great.

Right up until the April night when a bear ripped it out of the ground and walked away with everything except the steel pole, which was bent all the way to the ground.

Gulp.

I was delighted when Amazon and I worked together (again!) to find me a window feeder. I was so excited with it that I bought another one! And my grandkids and I have spent hours watching the lovely little birdies that flock to the window for food.

goldfinch

And the feeders were set way up high. The bottom of my window is a good 10 feet off the ground, and the feeders are three feet up the window. No bear could get into those things!

I relaxed. I was thrilled with my cleverness. Take that, Mother Nature! You’re no match for a smart Nonni, are you?

Ah, the joys of birdwatching from the comfort of my living room!

“Look, Ellie! I see a chickadee! And a male cardinal! And a junco! And a big, fat squirrel…..”  WHAT?!

red up high

Note the squirrel tracks in the yard. Also notice the BIRD SEED spread on the snow.                        For the squirrels.

Yes.

The squirrels recently discovered all that beautiful birdseed in my window feeders. At first I was completely baffled. How the hell did he get up there?

Aha. The lilac bush is close enough for them to jump onto the windowsill and the up to the feeder.

I wasn’t having it, though, oh no. If I could outsmart a bear, I could outsmart a little rodent, right?

First try: I hung a string of brass bells on the window, touching the feeder. Clever, clever old lady!  I watched the window carefully. I was smug. I saw him approaching…..

The cute little red squirrel hopped up onto the window and “jangle, jangle, jangle”! He froze. The he reached out one little paw and jangled it again. He grinned at me through the window. Then he jumped up, ate 30 dollars worth of seeds, and hopped back down. He rang the bells at me on his way out.

Next attempt: I left the window open just a crack. My dog Lennie has a voice that can break glass, I’m not kidding. His bark is so high pitched that it makes my teeth hurt. So, I figured, let the mighty hunter dog scare him away. I sat back, ready to triumph.

“Rusty” jumped up onto the lilac. Lennie growled. I smiled. Rusty leapt onto the window ledge. Lennie barked. I covered my ears. Rusty scrambled up onto the feeder. Lennie jumped at the window, knocking over a picture and two wooden trains. BAM! CRASH! HOWL!

Through the cacophony, I heard the sound of chewing. Rusty was in the feeder, happily gorging on the sunflower seeds. I wrestled Lennie back down to the floor, the two of us panting and growling. Why wasn’t the squirrel afraid?

“What the hell?!” I yelled at him. “Why aren’t you scared?!” He stuffed another handful of seeds in one cheek, knocked on the glass with his tiny knuckles and winked as he strolled away.

He rang the damn bells on his way out.

A couple of days went by. I refilled the feeder every four hours. I would NOT give up my birdwatching.

I googled “squirrel proofing” for ideas. I plotted. I planned.  I armed myself with a spray bottle and hid behind the curtains, waiting for him to show up.

He jumped into the feeder. I flung open the window and sprayed him right in his tiny face. Bam! Take that, you little red thief!

He jumped, seemingly in a panic, into the lilac. I stepped back. “VICTORY!”

He jumped back into the feeder. I flung open the window and spayed him even harder, aiming for that little black eyeball. Direct hit!

He jumped into the lilac and down to the ground. I stepped back. I waited.

He jumped back into the feeder.

This went on for a full ten minutes. Back and forth. Jump, grab seeds, spray in the face, jump down, jump back up, grab some seeds, spray in the face. Finally I ran out of water. I slumped to the floor in defeat. Rusty boy cleaned out the feeder.

The other day I covered the lilac with a sheet and attached it to the window. No squirrel.

Then the wind kicked up, the sheet billowed in the air in front of the window. Ellie shrieked in terror, Lennie barked in reaction to her shriek, Johnny burst into a wail when the dog barked.

Rusty took the opportunity to jump into the feeder.

I put a full bowl of bird seed on the snowy ground in front of the house. I sprinkled seeds on the snowbank. I have thrown almonds at the squirrel. I’ve yelled at him. I have moved the feeders three times.

No dice.

This morning I woke up to see this.

Red in the feeder

Morning, Nonni! Nice day for a healthy breakfast, no?

So I am admitting defeat.

We are no longer at war with the red squirrels in the feeder or the huge gray squirrels who have eaten every suet cake all winter.

I am embracing their furry cuteness. I am learning to admire the courage and tenacity of these wild creatures who are determined to survive.

The truth is, if I had to work that hard to live, I’m not sure I’d make it.

So come on, Rusty. I’ll put Lennie outside for now.

 

 

A Pretty Peaceable Kingdom


IMG_2092 (1)

I don’t know why I get such a kick out of watching birds at my feeders, but what can I say? I find them to be funny and charming and tenacious as they cluster around the suet or the seed.  I love watching them swoop in and out.

Of course, it isn’t only chickadees and woodpeckers that come around to eat.  I live at the edge of the forest.  As I have learned in the past two weeks (after hanging out my winter feeders), I also live in the squirrel capital of the world.

My suet feeders are hanging in the branches outside of my house. One hangs in a lilac, the other in a flowering crabapple. I had to wire them shut to stop the squirrels from stealing the yummy, fatty, peanuty goodness right out of them.  My seed feeder, pictured above, is supposedly “squirrel proof”, but all that means is that there is wire around the plastic tube (so that they can’t just chew it to pieces and eat all the seeds) and the metal cover is snapped closed (so that they can’t chew through it or pull it off and eat all the seeds.)

I now know that a “squirrel proof” bird feeder simply means that it takes a  bit longer for the squirrels to scoop the seeds out one handful at a time.

But you know what?

I don’t mind at all! I know that a lot of people throw ice or stones at the squirrels. I know more than one person who shoots them when they get into the bird seed.  But here’s my thought: they don’t actually know that I only want to feed the birds, not the mammals.  How could they?  They must all be up there in their nests, thinking, “Awesome!  The local humans have put out another giant pile of food for us!  You gotta love those guys!”

So when the squirrels swarm over the suet feeder and shove their little noses into the mesh to eat, all I can do is laugh.  The birds have enough to share.  I stand at the window, with Ellie in my arms, and we watch as the birds line up in the blueberry brambles, waiting their turns to rush in for a meal.  If there are squirrels there, the birds either go to another feeder or use the other side of the feeder.

It’s hilarious to watch!  The nuthatches are smart: if there is a squirrel, they land in the grass under the feeder, and eat the crumbs that fall. The woodpeckers wait, very patiently, on the sides of the pine trees, until the squirrels leave to bring goodies up to their nests.  Then the woodies fly in and attack the suet with a singleminded ferocity that reminds me of teenaged boys around a hot pizza.  The beautiful cardinals are skittish, waiting until the coast is perfectly clear to make an attempt at lunch.

And then there are the chickadees, who are my favorites. Fearless and unyielding, they seem unaware of their relative drabness in comparison to more beautiful birds. They fear no squirrel as they swarm the feeder, but they yield to each other as each one grabs a bite and then flies off to eat it.

I can watch this drama for hours, I really can.  The squirrels on the tree trunk, hanging upside down to plunder the feeder. The birds darting in and out, fearless or cautious, getting whatever they can.  Chipmunks moving around in the leaves under the trees, catching crumbs and cleaning up.

And the other day a group of turkeys joined the throng.  Big, loud, awkward creatures that they are, they scared the squirrels back into the branches of the pines, where they stood and squawked in outrage.  The little birds flew in and out, but the turkeys were oblivious.  They pecked at the ground for three full hours, getting every speck of corn, of sunflower seed, of dropped suet.  They clustered together, mumbling and bumping each other, their ugly bald heads bobbing up and down.

Ellie and I watched them on and off all day.  It was a beautiful, funny, awkwardly peaceable little kingdom out there.  No fights, no killing, no attacks.  Just a lot of eating and a lot of chirping, gobbling and squawking.

Its worth the cost of the food just to see that some species  on this beautiful earth can actually  manage to share the resources and respect each other’s differences.

That Winter Moon


Winter-moon

There is something supremely magical about a mid-winter moon.

It shouldn’t feel like magic, I think. It should feel like a threat.  Like a dangerous, biting creature that waits to pounce. The wind is howling, carrying plumes of snow across the yard.  It feels dangerous out here.  The moon rides high and distant, looking down from far, far above.

But in spite of the icy bite, in spite of the shivering icy fingers that reach for me, I can’t help noticing the magic that shines from that frigid silver face. Magic seems to shiver in the air under the trees.

On a night like tonight, in the darkest part of winter, there is powerful magic in stepping outside when the moon is high and the stars are crisp.  The silver of the moonlight is like dust, sifting down and coating the darkest needles of the pines that surround our deck.  The light is cold and distant, but it reaches into the dark woods, lighting the crust of snow that lies beneath the trees.

I lean on the deck rail, looking out into the forest, seeing the moon’s glow spread out below me. I see  mysterious tracks winding around the trunks of the trees.  Are they coyote tracks? Or deer? Or are they simply the tracks of my dog as she takes her morning stroll?

I don’t know.  I can’t tell from up here, but it doesn’t matter.  The silvery, shivering light of the nearly-full moon is flowing down onto the snowy woods, and the dark shadows of the animal tracks only serve to prove that magic is everywhere on this icy mid-winter night.

There is something magical and strong in the silvery light of a mid-winter moon.

Early Morning Thoughts


Last night I dropped into bed while the sun was still lighting the sky.  All of my exertions of the weekend finally caught up with me, and I took my aching back to bed nice and early.

Slept the dreamless sleep of the innocent for seven blissful hours.   Heaven!

Of course, the downside of being in dreamland by 9pm is that I was up for the day at 4, but I’m not complaining!

It is a cool, clear morning.  There are a million birds singing in the woods and the sun is just beginning to show itself through the trees. I decided to pour an iced coffee and go into the hot tub to watch it rise.

Can anything be more indulgent and more soothing than that?

I don’t think so.

I lay there, listening to the birds, watching the sky turn from gray to palest blue.  I felt the hot jets massaging my neck muscles.

My eyes focused slowly on the leaves of the nearest trees, and I realized that I was looking at a tall young oak.   It got me thinking, which shows you how well I slept last night.

When we moved in here, 24 years ago, that little oak was a tiny sprig. It was in the grass, in the yard, but I didn’t want to kill it with the mower.  We left it to grow.

Nine years ago, when we got our little puppy, Tucker, that oak was about twice as tall as I am.  I remember a summer day when Paul and the kids had gone hiking.  Tucker and I took a nap in the shade of the little tree.

Now it is some 30 feet tall, rising above our deck.  It looks like a real tree, not a sapling. It is spreading its branches out on all sides, reaching for the sunlight.

And it no longer stands in the yard; I hadn’t really noticed it, but the woods have crept slowly closer to the house over all these years. Now the oak is at the edge of the woods, surrounded by smaller saplings of pine, maple, ash and birch.

I wonder when the acorn that formed it fell?  There are no other mature oaks near this one.  Did a squirrel drop the acorn that managed to root here? Did it roll down the hill in a storm?

I have no idea, and I like it that way.  I am just an observer, watching the sun rise, the sky clear and the trees growing taller.SONY DSC